Dragon Wing is the first novel in the Death Gate series by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. The story starts out with the execution of an assasin by the name of The Hand or Hugh the Hand, when he is saved at the last moment by a messanger from King Stephen himself. The Hand soon learns the king wants to hire him for a special mission. The Hand struggles with the morality of a mission such as this. He strives to find out the truth behind the young prince and why there are those who would want him dead. Meanwhile in the city of Dreviln another revolution is beginning, that of the Gegs, or rather Dwarves who serve the kicksey-winesy which is a machine. The Gegs believe those who live in the Realm above them are gods who will judge them for their service to this machine, though there is one Geg who believes differently and dares to aks why. Everything is changed when Limberick finds and saves a man whose ship crashed on Dreviln, a man who can prove the Welves are not gods, but ordinary people who enslave and take advantage of the Gegs. The Gegs also receive the privilege to have 3 more 'gods' land on their island: Hugh, the prince and the princes chamerlain. Their world is turned inside out as they learn the truth behind the realms and the gods or wizards who abandoned it.
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The novel also follows the story of Haplo who we learn bits and pieces about during his interactions with the Gegs. There are questions that arise such as is Haplo a former slave as he claims, or is he someone more sinister. Who is the invisible magical father the prince converses with through a feather, and will he accept Prince Bane as his son, or is he using him to gather information? Dragon Wing opens the stage for the series and does a wonderful job of making readers want to read the next novel to see what happens next and if we learn more information about the characters. Hickman and Weis make a dynamic team who create novels that inspire and intrigue their readers. They have the ability to draw their readers into the story, into whichever realm they are describing.
Dragon Wing has an engaging opening with an execution that makes the readers wonder why this man is being executed. Then it proceeds into a plan for assassination of a young prince, along with the rebellion and sinister plan to take over the world, what more could you want from an opening novel? Their characters develop as the story progress giving more detail and personality with each situation, making the characters seem more real. There are points in the novel that the story seemed to drag on and not go anywhere, then there are points where the story really picked up and you were unable to put the novel down.
I first was introduced to the duo with the DragonLance saga and I thrilled to read other novels from them. The only downfall to the novel is the numerous footnotes throughout. It became distracting and I ended up note even reading them. There is a lot of emphasis put on descriptions of everything which at times added to making the story drag on. Overall the novel is well written and an enjoyable read despite some of the downfalls. I recommend this novel to fantasy lovers as well as those who love the Dragonlance Saga. Dragon Wing is a great addition to any library.
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